Home / Analysis / Ibn Taymiyyah and Doctrinal Differences

Ibn Taymiyyah and Doctrinal Differences

In urban societies people who observe various theological traditions (under the broad umbrella of Ahlussunnah) can be brought together, a phenomenon that often leads to dogmatic disputes with one another. Habitually, these quarrels spiral into a degenerated slinging match with takfir being made as the introductory statement!

This phenomenon, although widespread amongst Muslims generally, also happens to afflict major sections of the salafi and ahl-e-hadith community, often more out of anger or frustration than being able to legitimately do so. Others sincerely believe that they are the only Muslims that shall enter paradise and all others are doomed to eternal damnation, yet scholars who they claim to adhere to have had something else to say on the matter.

Ibn Taymiyyah, the shaikh of Islam, the mufti of his era, and one of the most astute intellectuals the world has ever seen said in court in reference to his debate with the Ash’aris and Maturidis:

So I answered their questions – that my saying that the belief of the ‘saved sect’, it is the sect that the Prophet describes as being saved whereby he said: “My ummah will split into 73 sects…”

This belief (which is in al-Wasitiyyah) is related by a system of transmission from the Prophet and his Companions – they and those who follow them are the saved sect. It is affirmed by various Companions, by way of transmission, that they said that faith increases and decreases as well as everything else I mentioned (in the tract), and this is related by the Companions with established chains of narration in both word and meaning. If those who came after them happened to differ it matters not since it changes nothing the earliest generations have said.
Then I said to them: it isn’t necessitated that everyone who differs with something from this creed is destroyed in their religion; the disputer might merely be a mistaken mujhtahid who is forgiven his mistake, or he may be a person to whom knowledge has yet to reach and so the hujjah is yet to be established, or it might be that he has amassed much good deeds by which Allah will wipe out his bad ones.
The dictate of such speech (that I have stated) is that whoever believes in this creed is saved in this doctrine, and whoever believes otherwise may be saved…



Notes: Majmu al-Fatawa 3/179
Islam21c requests all the readers of this article, and others, to share it on your facebook, twitter, and other platforms to further spread our efforts.

About Ahmed Ali


  1. Inshaallah erase the first comment as it diverts the attention from the article and might confuse new muslims. We should not let these people of batil to come here with their fitna.Or expose their agendas.

  2. Our view: This is a misleading passage, may Allaah grant us istiqaamah upon the truth.
    It is as if the wording of the passage gives hope to those who are on a false creed. Rather it seems that Ibn Taimiyyah was reasoning with the Asharis in a way to convince them, especially regarding those they respect from their teachers and forefathers. Not that he wished to give them hope in their false creed.

    Sh Fawzaan explains here below, and Ibn Taimiyyah is in accordance with this; however the groups cannot be ‘brought together’ in the way suggested in the article.


    Q: Should one mix with these groups or should they be avoided?

    A: When the intention behind mixing with them is to call them (to the truth), – and it is done by those who have knowledge and insight – to adhere to the Sunnah and to abandon their error(s), then this is something good and is from calling to Allaah. However, if this mixing is only for the purpose of accompaniment and entertainment, without any da’wah and without any clarification [of their errors], then this is not permissible. Hence it is not permissible for a person to mix with the opposers except in a manner in which some Sharee’ah benefit can be attained, such as calling them to the correct Islam, clarifying the truth to them that they may return to it – such as when Ibn Mas’ood, may Allaah be pleased with him, went to the Innovators who were in the mosque, stood in front of them and rejected their innovation. And like Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him, who went to the Khawarij, argued with them and refuted their misconceptions and as a result of which some of them returned to the truth.

    Therefore, mixing with them in this manner is something that is desirable. But if they persist upon their falsehood, then it is obligatory to avoid and shun them and to struggle against them for the sake of Allaah.

    Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan
    Al-Ajwibah al-Mufidah, compiled by Jamal bin Farihan al-Harithi.
    Translated by Abu `Iyaad Amjad Rafiq

    wAllaahu a’lam

  3. just another bro

    jzk for this
    salaams. It comes across more than a little convoluted but may Allah reward your effort. I think you are trying to say are 4 things:
    1. The 73 sects the prophet mentioned are the sects that are within the fold of Islam – as he said “My” ummah will split into 73 sects i.e. they are part of his ummah peace be upon him.
    2. The 72 deviant sects are under the threat of Allah’s punishment but may be saved from it for all sorts of reasons i.e. Allah forgives them, or their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds, or they have genuine reasons for falling into error.
    3. The saved sect is not under the threat of Allahs punishment and so that is the best position to be in.
    4. There are plenty of sects outside the fold of Islam and these are not those referred to by the hadith.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Send this to a friend